Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds

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Gulf state isolated by neighbours after freelance hacking operation planted fake news to discredit emir over his Islamist links

An investigation by the FBI has concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for sending out fake messages from the Qatari government, sparking the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual. Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates may have commissioned the hackers.

Related: US officials scramble to limit Donald Trump’s diplomatic damage over Qatar tweets

Related: It’s Qatar v Saudi Arabia. But the west can’t afford to pick a side | Peter Salisbury

Related: Contact the Guardian securely

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